There is an apparent contradiction in two conclusions of the Third Assessment Report (the TAR) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2001a). In one conclusion the IPCC states that developing countries will be most vulnerable to climate change; in another, the TAR reports that we are unable to predict adaptive responses to site-specific exposures to climate impacts. This map combines information about climate change, climate sensitivity, and adaptive capacity. Variation in adaptive capacity and climate impacts can be seen to influence the global distribution of vulnerability. Findings from the whole study show that all countries will be vulnerable to climate change, even if their adaptive capacities are enhanced. Developing nations are most vulnerable to modest climate change, and reducing greenhouse-gas emissions would diminish their vulnerabilities significantly. Developed countries would benefit most from mitigation for moderate climate change. Extreme climate change overwhelms the abilities of all countries to adapt.
For more information, contact Elizabeth Malone at JGCRI.
Yohe, G., Malone, E., Brenkert, A., Schlesinger, M, Meij, H., Xing, X. and Lee, D., 2006. “A Synthetic Assessment of the Global Distribution of Vulnerability to Climate Change from the IPCC Perspective that Reflects Exposure and Adaptive Capacity.” Palisades, NY, Center for International Earth Science Information Network, Columbia University.
Yohe, G., E.L. Malone, A.L. Brenkert, M. Schlesinger, H. Mejia, and D. Lee. 2006. Geographic Distributions of Vulnerability to Climate Change. Integrated Assessment Journal 6:3.